Archive for December, 2010

December 31, 2010

New year’s resolutions

Such a cliche of a post, I apologise. But here goes;

  • I will finish some of my dratted WIPs that have been haunting me for months. (Entrelac scarf, I’m looking at you. You too, Evergreen.)
  • I’ll spend more time knitting up other people’s patterns and support more indy designers by buying their work. And make these and make lots of them!
  • I’ll continue writing my own patterns, I’ll post them regularly and hopefully, get something somewhere published.
  • Oh and I’ll work harder at my job (my actual job) and do some more exercise and lose some weight and be tidier around the house and iron my clothes more often and call my parents every week and smile at people more. Like every year.
December 30, 2010

Codename Wintergreen

What can I say, I like the spy-fiction feel to the name, and there’s already a Wintergreen on Ravelry. So here goes: Codename Wintergreen.

What started as a desperate trip to John Lewis to avoid a knit-free Christmas became a swatch, then a cabled cuff, and eventually a pair of fitted fingerless gloves with a slightly silly name. I’m wearing them everywhere at the moment – they’re perfect for this cold-but-not-that-cold weather when you need something to stop draughts getting inside your coat .

They’re made up of an ornate cable cuff with aran braid, twist and twisted rib features, and a stockinette hand with individual cutoff fingers and thumb. Full instructions are given for working the cuff, the increases and the fingers, so they are suitable for an advanced beginner. They’re knit out of a plump, tightly plied sock yarn but I also think they could be knitted at a slightly looser gauge in manly colours with a slightly shortened cuff and make a nice present for the man in your life.

I’ve had great fun making them and I hope you will too. As always, I’d love to see finished objects (either on Ravelry or by emailing and whilst I do the absolute best I can, I design and publish all of this stuff myself so if you spot any errors, let me know ASAP and I’ll try to fix them.

The Ravelry page can be found here.


A couple of points on the design; I made them long cuffed on purpose because I want them to plug the gap at the end of my sleeves. But you could easily shorten by removing a couple of repeats of the pattern.

These are made for my hand, and fit snugly throughout. My wrist is about 6.5 inches at the narrowest point, and about 7 where the cuff starts. My thumb is about 2.5 inches round and the my hand excluding thumb is around 8 inches around. There’s plenty of stretch in the cuff but the final decrease row is quite tight when stretching over my hand. Instructions for avoiding this are given in the pdf.

I’ve put some suggested modifications for bigger or smaller hands below, but please note these are just suggestions and I haven’t tried them out. Also remember if you edit the total stitch count, you’ll need to account for this when working the fingers. Please let me know if you have suggestions for modifications, I’m always happy to hear your ideas.

Smaller wrists: Cast on 57 stitches [19,19,19], and follow the directions for the pattern substituting a p1 for every p2. Then ignore the double decreases in round 1 of section 2, and continue as written. You may wish to reduce the total number of decreases for the hand.

Bigger wrists: Cast on extra purl stitches so the aran braid and twist are further apart, and only work the decreases if you need to. Amend stitch totals when increasing or add extra length to the hand to make up the difference.

December 29, 2010


Update – oh, look – they did grow quickly! Pattern coming up shortly … ish

I’m not making a rude gesture at you, honest. That photo on the right was earlier today’s progress on Codename Wintergreen. I would have a lot more done but I went wool-sales shopping and then I had to scrape a load of gunk off the inside of the oven before I could eat, and then I hoovered the house.

December 27, 2010

Every cloud

I am over the moon about Elvira being the featured pattern of the day on! (You can find me on the 26th of December on this list). It resulted in a huge number of hits – over twice my best day so far! I hope it results in some lovely Elvira hats popping into existence. I’d always love to see pics if you’ve made one! 🙂

Anyway, back to the title of this post. Normally I don’t post pictures of things I’m working on that aren’t complete. But I just wanted to post this picture of my newest project (currently codenamed “Wintergreen” but liable to change).

So all my favourite yarn and needles were in my suitcase which somehow went missing between Salzburg and London Stansted. But I decided that to avoid facing Christmas without knitting, I would trek to John Lewis and stock up.

I spent most of Christmas Day furiously swatching (I had planned to make something in a heavier yarn, but for some reason the other yarns I picked didn’t look good in cables – too loosely plied, I think) and eventually I produced the pattern on the wrist for these using 4ply wool – it’s a combination of an aran braid, a single twisted rib stitch and a 2×2 twist. Yesterday I finished the cuff and knit the little fingers and cast on cuff number 2, and knit a fair bit of that on the train on the way home today.

Anyway, I’m a little bit in love with these mittens at the moment, despite all the sewing in of ends! Project page on Ravelry can be found here. They’re a perfect combination of practical and decorative, and I’m really pleased with the fit of the little fingers. My Grandma was impressed too, and she’s a pretty good knitter so that’s a compliment! And if it hadn’t been for Ryanair losing my suitcase, I would never have got the chance to make them. Every cloud …

December 27, 2010


Despite suitcase mishaps, Salzburg was wonderful. Not particularly snowy – in fact, warmer and less snowy than Britain – but stunningly beautiful nonetheless.

This is a photo from Salzburg Castle looking away from one of the most famous views in the city. Here’s the slightly more famous view, from Schloss Mirabell.

And here’s that same view complete with Von Trapp Family singers.

Long-suffering-boyfriend and I meant to watch the Sound of Music before going to Salzburg but ran out of time what with Christmas shopping and all. But it will probably be more fun to watch it this way round, having seen the sights and been there.

I went straight to my Grandma’s house for Christmas, where I found out that my mum is a big fan of the Sound of Music. She went to a very strict convent school in Edinburgh where things like going to the cinema weren’t usually allowed. But they made an exception for the Sound of Music because it’s the Nuns who foil the Nazis by nicking bits of their car engine, allowing the Von Trapps to escape. Funny old world, isn’t it?

December 24, 2010

How do you solve a problem like …

I’d like to say “Maria” and make this a schmalzy Sound of Music/Salzburg themed post. But actually, the question on my mind is “how do you solve a problem like a long Christmas Break at your Grandma’s house without wireless internet connection when Ryanair leave your suitcase in Salzburg and can’t deliver it to you until the new year?”

There were a lot of things in that suitcase. All my warm clothes – my Grandma’s house is freezing – and my only warm pair of pyjamas. My two new wooly jumpers. A few nice items in case we get invited to a christmas drinks party (it has been known to happen). My phone charger. My toileteries. Christmas presents – new ones for family – books, bottles, Salzburg tat. And all my knitting. My copy of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns. My new golden-yellow Fez wool to be made into ear-warmers. The manly coloured Wendy Skye that was 80% of a scarf for dad (would have been more but the man at baggage drop at Gatwick told me my wooden knitting needles were a ‘dangerous item’ and wouldn’t let me take them on board). The new white merino I bought in Salzburg. Two pairs of DPNs and a cable needle. All gone.

Still, I’m (almost) done being angry now. I’m very lucky that I live in London and could get back across town to pick up some new clothes. I’m also very lucky to live in London where John Lewis is open on Christmas Eve, so it won’t be a knit-free Christmas after all. I’m lucky that I hung on to Berry Brambles so I could take a few photos, and so it snuck into my hand luggage, and I’m very lucky that my beautiful christmas present from lovely boyfriend made it into the hand luggage too. I’m lucky I got to spend a few days in Salzburg with him too. Photos in the new year. Happy Christmas everyone.

December 21, 2010

Snow Travel Chaos

Wish me luck – Gatwick airport is half closed due to 1cm of snow, Munich is the centre of a Pan-european version of planes, trains and automobiles and there’s more snow in London than Salzburg. So a quick hop there and back before Christmas ought to be easy, right?

December 19, 2010

Couldn’t have put it better myself

December 18, 2010

Wool to be made into things

The title of this post is a bit of a con, because some of this stuff has actually been knitted into things already. The lovely mustard-yellow Fez is going to be turned into an ear warmer of sorts. The pink is my Saucy Librarian in progress. Next to it is some oatmeal coloured Cygnet 4ply which started life as a swatch and is rapidly becoming a headband because I totally fell in love with the stitch pattern. Bottom left is MANLY WOOL! Wendy Skye in “Willow” – grey flecked with orange. I love it. I think Dad is getting something in it for Christmas. And bottom right is Rowan Big Wool in Wild Berry, making Berry Brambles.

December 18, 2010

Berry Brambles

This is such a quick knit I’m wondering if it might just solve someone’s last minute present dilemma. (It solved mine!)

So I give you Berry Brambles – the little sister of Blue Brambles! (Please excuse the slightly dorky photo of me in an airport departure lounge.)

This super quick, super-easy scarf and it only takes two balls (just under 160m) of Big Wool. If you’ll excuse the silly phrase, it has just the right amount of squish to it. I decided to adapt Blue Brambles as a last minute Christmas present for my Grandma but I know she’s not a cowl person, so I made it a little narrower and a lot longer!

I’m so delighted with the way it came out, and she loved it too.

ps. If you’re sharp eyed, you might notice I originally called it Blackberry Brambles … It turns out this is a well used phrase already on Ravelry so I had to do a swift name change!